Rogaia Abusharaf Named Sonneborn Interdisciplinary Collaboration Chair by University Provost

Georgetown University Provost Robert Groves recently announced the Provost Office Faculty awards, and one of Georgetown University in Qatar’s own, Professor Rogaia Abusharaf, was named 2nd Sonneborn Interdisciplinary Collaboration Chair, alongside her collaborators, Professors Anaya Chakravarti and Cóilín Parsons, both from the College of Arts and Sciences.

This collaborative team of an anthropologist, historian, and an English professor has been actively studying the Indian Ocean region, home to nearly half the world’s population. This region has acted as a connective tissue globally through the movement of goods, peoples, religious beliefs, and intellectual ideas.

“Over half the world’s population lives within 50 miles of the shores of the Indian Ocean, yet study of the intricate and long-running connections across the Indian Ocean are comparatively new,” said Parsons. “Georgetown University has been at the forefront of the study of this region for a decade now, and we are delighted to see our cross-disciplinary work in the humanities recognized with a Sonneborn Chair.” 

A Decade-Long Collaboration

The three chairs have collaborated over almost a decade, blending their specialties together for alternative perspectives on the region. This collaboration has been facilitated by the Indian Ocean Working Group founded at GU-Q in 2014. This collaboration has produced dozens of research products and most recently led to a new academic journal, Monsoon: Journal of the Indian Ocean Rim, with the team collaborating on editorial duties. The team has collaborated on teaching through the Global Classroom and Global Humanities Seminars. The team will extend their collaboration to a new set of students, Indian Ocean Fellows, creating new collaborations between students in DC and Doha, through co-taught seminars. In a real sense, this team will create a interdisciplinary laboratory on the Indian Ocean region.

The Sonneborn Chair Research Agenda

The Sonneborn Chair provides funding and support for three years of research, which the team is eager to pursue. “Over the next three years we plan to work closely with students across both campuses to advance our knowledge of pressing global issues – climate change, forced labor and political violence – by paying attention to Indian Ocean stories,” said Dr. Parsons. 

This chairship helps bridge the scholarship and research produced by the working group, which has been primarily based in Qatar, to the campus in Washington, DC. “The Indian Ocean, with its beautiful warm waters, has sustained a huge part of humanity for much of our history,” said Dr. Chakravarti. “I see this chair, and the opportunity it provides to expand our investment in understanding the region, as part of Georgetown’s commitment to producing knowledge in service of the world.”

Original Department of English Post Here. Original Provost Announcement Here